- The Washington Times - Monday, March 23, 2009

KOWTOW TO IRAN?

” ‘Liberty’ isn’t a word you’ll find in President Obama’s Iranian New Year message to ‘the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran.’ Nor is ‘freedom.’ Nor ‘democracy.’ Nor ‘human rights,’”William Kristol writes in the Weekly Standard.

“Nor will you find any expression of solidarity with the people of Iran - though you’ll find plenty of solicitude for their rulers. The president bends over backwards to reassure the mullahs that our government wishes them well,” Mr. Kristol said.

“You’ll find a paragraph addressed to ‘the people and leaders of Iran,’ as if the people and leaders were in harmony, and shared a need to be reassured that we seek ‘a future with … greater opportunities for partnership and commerce.’

“You’ll find two paragraphs devoted to speaking directly to Iran’s leaders. Obama reassures them of his commitment to diplomacy, and to an engagement grounded in ‘mutual respect.’ Of course expressions of respect for the people of Iran are nothing new - President Bush reiterated our respect for the people of Iran many times, including a year ago on the occasion of Nowruz, as they call their New Year. No, what’s distinctive about Obama’s statement is his respect for the ‘leaders,’ the clerical dictatorship.

“Indeed, ‘the United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations.’ Note: ‘the Islamic Republic of Iran.’ Does Obama routinely refer to Pakistan as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, its formal name? Of course not. But Obama goes out of his way to mention (twice) ‘the Islamic Republic of Iran.’ He’s kowtowing to a regime that is anything but republican, implicitly forswearing any plan - any hope - of regime change to free the Iranian people.”

‘DUCKING, WEAVING’

“I know, I know, all rolled eyes are on President Barack Obama and his dumb comment about his Special Olympics bowling score,” Helen Ubinas writes in the Hartford (Conn.) Courant.

“But there was something else the president said during his ‘Tonight Show’ appearance that caught my attention,” the columnist said.

“ ‘We need to get back to a place where people know enough is enough,’ Obama said when talking about the obscene AIG bonuses.

“Good news, Prez - the people of Connecticut are already there.

“The bad news is that the one guy in the state who really needs to get that clearly doesn’t.

“Even as Sen. Christopher Dodd tried to explain his involvement in the pesky loophole that led to $218 million in bonuses for a company bailed out by taxpayers, he insisted it was all just a misunderstanding.

“There was no flip-flop, he repeatedly told reporters during a conference call Thursday. In fact, there was no distinction between any of his comments, really.

“With that, you could almost hear one reporter’s head explode.

“The people of Connecticut see a distinction, the reporter snapped. ‘They think you’re talking out of both sides of your mouth.’

“There was a short, but notable pause. And for a minute there, I thought Dodd might actually get that reporters weren’t piling on because it was a slow news day, but because he messed up - big-time.

“But no matter how many times reporters tried to broach the subject of Dodd’s credibility, there was just more ducking and weaving.”

A STEP AWAY

“Today Hamas stands on the cusp of international acceptance,” Caroline Glick writes in the Jerusalem Post.

“It may take a week or a month or a year, but today Hamas stands where Fatah and the PLO stood in the late 1980s. The genocidal jihadist terror group is but a step away from an invitation to the Oval Office. Two events in the past week show this to be the case,” the writer said.

“First, last Saturday, the Boston Globe reported that Paul Volcker, who serves as President Barack Obama’s economic recovery adviser, and several former senior U.S. officials have written a letter to Obama calling for the U.S. to recognize Hamas. As one of the signatories, Brent Scowcroft, who was national security adviser under president George H.W. Bush, explained, ‘I see no reason not to talk to Hamas.’

“Scowcroft further argued, ‘The main gist is that you need to push hard on the Palestinian peace process. Don’t move it to the end of your agenda and say you have too much to do. And the U.S. needs to have a position, not just hold their coats while they sit down.’

“Congressional sources claim that Obama has selected Scowcroft to replace Chas Freeman as chairman of the National Intelligence Council.

“The second reason that it is becoming apparent that the Obama administration is poised to recognize Hamas is that on Thursday, Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman held talks at the State Department with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and enjoined the administration to support the re-establishment of a Hamas-Fatah unity government to control and reunify the Palestinian Authority in Gaza and Judea and Samaria.

“This is significant because it is becoming apparent that top administration officials only meet with people who tell them what they want to hear.”

‘CREEPY’

“Imagine that the president of the United States is sending personal representatives to the homes of private citizens and asking them to sign a ‘pledge of support’ for his administration’s policies,”Mark Impomeni writes at www.redstate.com.

“Imagine that those representatives are asking citizens for their names and e-mail addresses so that the ‘post-election’ organization set up by the president can follow up with them; perhaps taking the addresses of those who refuse to sign. Imagine what the reaction of the online left would be to such activity. Cries of ‘Fascism!’ ‘Police state!’ and ‘Voter intimidation!’ would ring out from the online left in opposition to the Republican administration’s tactic.

“Now imagine that the president doing this is not a Republican, but is President Barack Obama.”

Mr. Impomeni added: “However shrewd and revolutionary it may be from an organizing standpoint, the government is not, and ought not be a community organizing group. It’s creepy. Campaigning is what Obama does best, however. We are likely to see many more pledge drives like this one, and equally likely to hear absolutely nothing about it from the media and the left.”

•Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com

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